A Story from Passing the Baton

I first heard about Passing the Baton at a Sunday service in Kings Church Edinburgh. There are quite a few volunteers at Kings and each of them shared their own experience with Passing the Baton, what it involved and how we could get involved. I thought it was a great initiative and was really shocked to hear just how many people in our community are affected by loneliness and the damage this has on people’s health.  I then asked for more information to get involved in becoming a befriender from one of the volunteers at Kings. She was able to help me sign up for one of the Bethany Christian Trust training courses. Since then I have been partnered up with another girl from Kings and the two of us meet up with a lovely lady that Bethany paired us up with.

What I enjoy so much about befriending is that you get to become a listening ear to someone who otherwise doesn’t get many visitors. *Elspeth has a brilliant team of carers that look after her on a regular basis but unfortunately with such a demanding job there isn’t always time to sit and chat. Also her family are rather scattered so can’t come to visit as much as they would like. Elspeth also has dementia so has very little memory of her later life, however her memory of her childhood is better than my own! She keeps us constantly entertained with her quick wit and fascinating stories of growing up and her family that she loves so dearly. As Elspeth is fairly immobile we tend to spend most of our time drinking tea, eating biscuits with plenty of chatting and lots of laughter. With Elspeth’s dementia she doesn’t tend to remember us, however she always greets us with the biggest smile and is very pleased to be in our company. We also keep in contact with her daughter and she says that she hasn’t complained about loneliness as much since becoming part of Passing the Baton. To be honest I signed up to help someone feel less isolated and alone, but I think both me and my partner that visit Elspeth would agree, that we get just as much enjoyment from our time together as she does.

*Julia (befriending volunteer) & Elspeth (using Passing the Baton service) are names assigned to the two individuals to protect their identity